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LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
 
FSA LogoThe Luxury Hotel Insider: Exclusive luxury hotel deals, features and special rates from the luxury hotel experts at Five Star Alliance. 
 
Named one of Tripbase's Best Luxury Travel Blogs for 2011, below are Five Star Alliance's newest articles featuring exclusive information on luxury hotels worldwide including special offers and deals at the world's best hotels.

World's Largest Four Seasons Resort Planned for Walt Disney World

September 19, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons Resort, Disney World

Get ready, Orlando. The Magic Kingdom is getting a luxe addition. Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts has announced that it will begin construction on a $360 million luxury resort in December. Slated for 2014, this will be the largest resort for the brand on the planet- encompassing 444 guest rooms, 40 time-share units, 90 Four Seasons private residences (any buyers out there?), a rooftop resto with views of Walt Disney World, and a "lazy river" water complex. The Orlando Sentinel reports that Four Seasons snatched up the real estate in August 2008 for $51 million, including Disney's Osprey Ridge golf course, which will become part of the resort.


Dubai International on Track to Become the World's 2nd Busiest Airport

September 14, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Armani Hotel DubaiIt looks like massive tourism growth in glitzy Dubai has had a big impact on Dubai International. The airport handled 4.7 million passengers in the month of July alone, and is on track to eclipse Hong Kong and Paris Charles de Gaulle. The Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation has determined that Dubai's airport will move into place this November as the world's second busiest international airport. London's Heathrow continues to be the world's busiest airport. Interested in jetting to Dubai to check out the indoor ski resort or the LED light show at InterContinental Dubai Festival City? Browse the Five Star Alliance collection of four- and five-star hotels...

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Special Five Star Alliance Rates at the Armani Hotel Dubai


London's Halkin Turns 20 with New Suites and a Pop-up Culture Lounge

September 14, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Halkin, LondonThe Halkin is celebrating 20 years as a glamorous boutique hotel in London with a fun-filled calendar of events this month. Just two days ago, the art publisher ASSOULINE opened an immersive pop-up "Culture Lounge" which will run through November 30, 2011. Visitors can browse gorgeous coffee-table books in a library-style environment, and noted authors will participate in literary events. September will also see The Halkin unveil its new 20th anniversary suites - two COMO Suites and one Belgravia Suite on the second and third floor which have been renovated and now include large balconies overlooking the hotel gardens. Various anniversary packages are available with value-added extras (like milkshakes, cookies, and a Children’s Box of Delights for kids traveling with their families on vacation).


New Restaurants in London: Thirty-Six by Nigel Mendham at Dukes Hotel

September 8, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Dukes Hotel LondonThere's a new signature restaurant at Dukes London and it's guaranteed to get foodies drooling. The restaurant's name-- Thirty-Six by Nigel Mendham-- is derived from the number symbolizing good luck in Chinese astrology, the symbol of the magic square of the sun, as well as the hotel's address on Little St. James. Michelin-starred chef Nigel Mendham cooks up traditional British dishes in a "classic contemporary style" highlighting superb local produce. Here's a sampling:

Starters

Dry aged beef carpaccio, beetroot, horseradish; Rare breed pork of braised cheek with Waldorf salad; Scallops, cauliflower, smoked eel, red sorrel

Main Courses

Highland venison, butternut fondant, ossobucco; Lemon sole, langoustine tortellini, carrot puree, hazelnut crumb; Brill rib of beef with watercress and native oysters;

Desserts

Carrot cake, liquid carrot, iced cream cheese, spiced walnuts; Apples and brambles crumble, brulee, sorbet; Dark chocolate delice, crunchy pears and cardamon

All menu selections are offered prix fixe at Thirty-Six by Nigel Mendham: dinner is £49 for two courses and £60 for three courses; and lunch is £26 for two courses and £36 for three courses. The restaurant's nine-course tasting menu - which includes a Margarita right before the dessert courses - runs £95 or £150 with matching wines.


Trends in Travel: Spas are Using Locally Grown Ingredients

September 8, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Miraval ResortLike the farm-to-table food movement, spas are sourcing locally grown ingredients like chamomile and lavender. This new trend was highlighted in the International Spa Association's annual trend showcase in New York on August 18. Another new direction that spas are taking? Treatments are focusing not just on beauty but also on remedying stress and pain. Lastly, as The Washington Post points out, spa treatments are embracing technology:

  • The Spa at Trump demonstrated a pulsating light treatment on hands at the ISPA event; the LED therapy is used in facials at Trump Hotel spas ($150 for 30 minutes at Trump Soho). The Trump team also showed off a sparkly new line of SpaRitual vegan nail polish (animal fat can be an ingredient in nail polish).

And the spa market is looking pretty healthy, too, with statistics showing that the industry is recovering from the recession. An annual study by PricewaterhouseCoopers revealed that revenue was up to $12.8 billion in 2010, a 4% increase over 2009, with spa visits increasing from 143 million to 150 million.

Pictured: A spa treatment at Miraval Resort in Arizona.


Win a Trip to New Orleans with the Hotel Monteleone

September 8, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Monteleone, New OrleansWant to go on a trip to the Big Easy? The Hotel Monteleone has launched its second and final social media-based trip giveaway to New Orleans in conjunction with its 125th Anniversary. The contest, “History, Holidays and the Hotel Monteleone,” is running through the Hotel’s Facebook page and will end on November 4 at 11:59 p.m. (CST). The prize includes round-trip airfare to New Orleans from any location in the continental United States, a two-night stay in one of the hotel’s luxury suites, a signed copy of the Hotel’s 125th Anniversary history book, "Hotel Monteleone: More Than a Landmark, The Heart of New Orleans Since 1886," and a set of limited edition 125th Anniversary Mignon Faget cocktail glasses.

How to enter? It couldn't be easier. Simply visit the Hotel Monteleone’s Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/hotelmonteleone and click “Like” if you're not already a fan. Next, click "Contest" on the Left sidebar. Contestants must enter their first and last names, state and email address. That’s it. The Hotel Monteleone will randomly select a winner at the end of the contest period on November 4 and will announce the winner on November 9 through Facebook.


The Biggest Hotel Pool in Paris at Le Royal Monceau's Swank New Spa

September 6, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Le Royal Monceau, Raffles ParisWe're giddy over the news: Le Royal Monceau, the gorgeous Raffles hotel in Paris, has opened a spa designed exclusively by Philippe Starck. (Read: Some serious eye candy is in store!) It's a sprawling, contemporary space-- 16,000 square feet all in white-- with custom furnishings and delightful amenities. The best part of all? The 92-foot swimming pool that's the largest hotel pool in Paris! There are seven treatment rooms including a VIP suite, a gym with all the latest equipment, and private fitness classes and training sessions. You could be content to hang out all day in the spa. The separate men's and women's relaxation areas come with hammams, saunas, ice fountains, and more. But The Spa My Blend by Clarins offers some revolutionary facial treatments, too...


Announcing the Park Hyatt Marrakech Al Maaden

September 2, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Park Hyatt Marrakech

As if you needed further proof of Marrakech's status as a global capital of hotel cool: Park Hyatt is opening a property there in 2012. (This is the hotel brand that scored top honors with Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme- recently named by the French government as one of just eight "palace" hotels in France.) Located within the within the Al Maaden Golf Resort, the Park Hyatt Marrakech Al Maaden will have rooms with views of both the Atlas Mountains and the 18-hole golf course, created by award-winning golf course designer Kyle Phillips in the style of a classic Moroccan garden. Top digs: Each of the 45 villas will have a living room, dining room, fireplace and pool. Ooh la la!


New in London: Wolfgang Puck's Cut at 45 Park Lane

August 31, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

45 Park LaneWe've been waiting with bated breath for the opening of Wolfgang Puck's first restaurant in Europe: Cut at 45 Park Lane. The newest hotel from The Dorchester Collection will have the honor of housing the steakhouse, mirroring "the award-winning and hugely popular original CUT in Beverly Hills." And now-- courtesy of Daily Candy London-- we've got a few more details:

1. The chef’s favourite dish on the menu is sauteed Dover sole meuniere served with preserved lemon and parsley.

2. It’s the first time this many (sixteen) of Damien Hirst’s prints from a certain series have appeared in the same location.

3. Unlike at other branches, Cut in London will be open for breakfast (salt beef hash cakes, poached eggs with bearnaise sauce and buttermilk pancakes with whipped bourbon-maple butter) and lunch (Dorset crab and lobster Louis cocktail with spicy tomato horseradish, smaller cuts of signature steaks).

For more exciting information about the resto, check out Daily Candy's article.


Now at Four Seasons Hotels: Paraben-Free Toiletries by L'Occitane

August 30, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons Punta MitaGood news for all you toiletry hoarders out there. The Four Seasons hotel chain has announced that it will be changing to paraben-free toiletries after numerous studies have linked the chemical paraben to certain cancers. As The USA Today Hotel Check-In blog reports, Four Seasons is rolling out a new line of bath products by L'Occitane: "The move coincides with the Four Seasons chain's broader effort to use more natural products in its spas." City hotels have already started to replace their toiletry inventory, and Four Seasons resorts will start receiving their shipments in September. And by the end of this year, all Four Seasons hotels will feature an organic, chemical-free product in their spas.

Pictured: The Four Seasons Punta Mita in Mexico.